46:1-28 - ‘Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, “I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants”’ (8). The spirit of rebellion against God is very powerful. Many lives have been destroyed by the attitude of proud unbelief: ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him...?’ (Exodus 5:2). We must take our stand against this attitude. We must stand up for the Lord. We see the world going from bad to worse. We must continue to believe the Word of God. When we are filled with fear, He comes to us with His Word, ‘Do not fear... Do not be dismayed...’. When we feel the spirit of rebellion sweeping over us, God comes to us with His promise: ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place’. He gives us ‘peace and security’ - ‘Do not fear... I am with you’ (27-28).
47:1-48:17 - ‘The day has come to destroy all the Philistines... The Lord is about to destroy the Philistines... Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh are destroyed’ (47:4). That seems like ancient history - nothing to do with us! What about this? - ‘A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!’ (48:17). The Bible may have been written many centuries ago - but it still has a great deal to do with us! We miss the point if we read the Bible as no more than a book of ancient history. God is still speaking to us through His Word. He is still calling us to sit up and take notice. He is still demanding our attention. We must not be lazy in the work of the Lord. We are to be faithful servants of the Lord. ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord... your labour in the Lord is not in vain’ (1 Corinthians 15:58).
49:1-22 - ‘Afterwards I will restore the fortunes...’ (6). Sometimes, when you’re going through a particularly difficult time, you may wonder, ‘Will this ever end?’. God speaks to us His Word of encouragement. There will be an ‘afterwards’. There will be a ‘restoration of our fortunes’. ‘The Lord will not cast us off for ever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion according to His steadfast love. He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone’ (Lamentations 3:31-33). There will come a time when we will be able to look back at our most distressing circumstances and say from the heart, ‘God meant it for good’ (Genesis 50:20). In our most testing and trying times, God is teaching us to say, with confidence in Him, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him’ (Romans 8:28).
49:23-39 - ‘I will restore the fortunes... in days to come’ (39). God is calling us on to His future, a glorious future, a future full of heavenly and eternal glory. We look ahead to ‘days to come’. We look ahead to the greatest Day of all - the Day of Christ’s Return. It will be a glorious Day - ‘the Day He comes to be glorified... in all who have believed’. What a glorious Day it will be - the Day of ‘the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’, the Day of ‘our being gathered to Him’: ‘The Lord Himself will come down from heaven... We will be with the Lord for ever’. Get ready for Christ’s Return. Don’t be like those who ‘perish’. They ‘do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus’. They ‘refuse to love the truth and be saved’. Have ‘faith’ in Christ and be ‘saved’ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:1,10,13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
50:1-28 - ‘The people... will go in tears to seek the Lord their God... They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten’ (4-5). God is calling us to come to Him. He is calling us to commit ourselves to Him. We are to come to the Lord with ‘tears’: ‘Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation’ (2 Corinthians 7:10). Our commitment to the Lord is not to be a half-hearted thing. It is to be a whole-hearted dedication of our lives to Him. God loves us. He has blessed us so much. He has drawn us to Himself. He has heard and answered our prayer for salvation. How are we to respond to such love? We must give ourselves to Him as ‘a living sacrifice’. This is our ‘spiritual worship’. It is ‘holy and pleasing to God’ (Romans 12:1).
50:29-46 - ‘The arrogant one will stumble and fall’ (32). God’s Word warns us - ‘Pride goes before... a fall’; ‘Arrogance will bring your downfall’ (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23). We must not trust in ourselves. We must put our trust in the Lord - Our ‘Redeemer is strong. The Lord Almighty is His Name’ (34). We must not boast of ourselves. Salvation is ‘not our own doing’. We must ‘boast of the Lord’. Salvation is ‘the gift of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). When we are tempted to take pride in ourselves - ‘Lord, I thank You that I am not like other men...’ (Luke 18:11-12), we must come to the Cross of Christ, praying the sinner’s prayer - ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13) - and boasting only of the Lord - ‘God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14).
51:1-33 - ‘Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations!’ (27). God calls us to be His witnesses. If we are growing in our fellowship with the Lord, we will want others to know what they’re missing. We will want them to know how much blessing they could know - if they put their faith in Christ and began to walk with Him day-by-day. Let us give our testimony: ‘The Lord is my Banner’, ‘His banner over me is love’ (Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4). Let us make sure that our ‘trumpet’ gives out ‘a clear call’, calling people to come to Christ. We must point them to Christ, calling them to trust Him as Saviour and obey Him as Lord. We must show them the way to true happiness: ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’ (Mission Praise, 760).
51:34-64 - ‘When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud’ (61). God’s Word is not to be kept within the place of worship. We are to take His Word to ‘Babylon’. We must speak His Word in the places where He is not worshipped. We are to call people to turn from their sinful ways. We are to call them to return to the Lord. This will not be an easy message to speak. Many people won’t want to hear it. We must warn people that by neglecting God’s salvation, they are placing themselves in danger of His judgment. We must speak of the Day when everyone of us must ‘answer’ to God concerning the way we have lived our lives (Hebrews 2:3; 4:13). We must call on people to ‘believe in the Lord Jesus’ and ‘be saved’ (Acts 16:31).
52:1-34 - We need ‘a portion for each day... all the days of our life’ (34). When we pray, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, we must look beynd our physical need for food. We must remember our spiritual need for ‘the Bread of life’: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God’ (Matthew 6:11; John 6:35; Luke 4:4). Day-by day, we should pray for spiritual feeding: ‘Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord to me, as Thou didst break the bread beside the sea. Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord. My spirit longs for Thee, Thou living Word! Thou art the Bread of life, O Lord, to me, Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me. Give me to eat and live with Thee above. Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love’ (Mission Praise, 64).